Chula Vista teen chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Chula Vista teen chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program

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CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A Chula Vista girl has been selected to represent California in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation's 52nd annual U.S. Senate Youth Program, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday.

Sabrina Mia Van Zuiden, a senior at Hilltop High School, will receive a $5,000 scholarship and attend a one-week, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

She will join Daniel Cameron Hamidi, a resident of Yorba Linda in Orange County and a senior at Valencia High School. Two alternates, who live in Los Angeles and Santa Clarita, were also picked in case Sabrina or Daniel can't attend.

"Young people like these four are a big part of the reason I'm so optimistic about California's future," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. "They combine a natural curiosity and care for the world around them with hard work and support from their schools and communities."

Students must be nominated by their high school principal to participate in the program.

A selection committee from the state Department of Education reviewed them and Torlakson selected the awardees based on the quality of their application, high academic achievement, interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge of American government and U.S. history, involvement in school and community activities, demonstrated qualities of leadership, extracurricular activities and service to the community.

Sabrina, vice president of the Associated Student Body, is also president of the Hilltop High United with Uganda club, which raises funds for a sister school in Kampala, Uganda.

In her junior year, she was presented with the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award through the University of Rochester for "demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues, leadership and dedication to community action" in addition to her strong grades and rigorous courses.

The girl, who has a 4.34 grade-point average and hopes to attend UC Berkeley, was one of six students to represent the U.S. at the International Youth Forum, a leadership conference on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The four students are also scheduled to be recognized by the state Board of Education during its Jan. 15-16 meeting in Sacramento.

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